Are You Old Enough To Rent A Car In The USA?

Are You Old Enough To Rent A Car In The USA?

At age 18, you are able to get married without parental permission, join up for the military draft, and be summoned for jury duty. However, renting a car might not be an option for you. This is due to the fact that many firms charge exorbitant additional fees for renting a car to those under the age of 21, and those that do not. Some businesses go even further and forbid renting to anyone who is younger than 25. Is that unjust? Maybe, but there's a good reason behind it. According to Greg Scott with the American Car Rental Association, in an email interview, "the minimum age is based on decades of safety and accident studies from the insurance industry that come to the undeniable conclusion that drivers under the age of 25 have more frequent and more serious accidents."

In fact, the younger generation is severely overrepresented in car accidents. The National Safety Council reports that youths between the ages of 16 and 19 account for 8.9 percent of all crashes and 6 percent of fatal crashes, although representing just 3.5 percent of all drivers. Until drivers reach the age of 24, the accident rate remains almost the same before beginning to decline. This fact is further demonstrated by Sean Pour, co-founder of SellMax, a national car buying business. He discovered that, for the month of March 2022, 63% of the 2,348 damaged vehicles his business had acquired had been purchased from drivers under the age of 25. All young people being lumped together may seem harsh, but this group is only interested in the numbers, the man claims.

As a youthful driver, this doesn't preclude you from renting a car; it just means that you'll pay more to do so. The cost rise is undoubtedly related to the higher risk involved in renting a car to a driver under the age of 25. Only those renters who are affected by the so-called youth premiums are charged by the companies, avoiding the need to raise prices for all drivers. According to Jessica Claros, a qualified insurance producer with Dominguez Insurance Agency, the "young driver surcharge" runs from $14.99 to $35 per day. This is in addition to the daily fee for the rental automobile. However, she writes in her email that "18-year-olds should anticipate to pay an even larger daily surcharge, on average."

What Are My Other Options?

The first thing to be aware of is that companies must rent cars to anybody 18 or older with a valid license under New York and Michigan state law, however they are permitted to impose a young driver surcharge. In Michigan, these fees average $40 per day, while in New York, they are $57 per day. There is yet hope if you reside in one of the other 48 states. Some car rental agencies do rent to those who are 18 or older, and some of them even focus on this market, according to Scott.

Some examples include Dollar Car Rental, which rents to drivers over the age of 20, and Fox Rent a Car, which allows drivers under the age of 18 who are in the military and on active duty with travel orders as well as any licensed driver over the age of 19. In reality, service members should ask any rental car agency about that small exception. For instance, if a renter is 18 years old and has a government travel or purchase order, Budget will rent to them and eliminate the under-25 fees. If the rental is a "insurance replacement" while the renter's car is in the shop, many businesses will rent to 18-year-olds.

According to Melanie Musson, an auto insurance specialist at, certain rental car agencies will waive young renter costs for AAA members. In order to avoid paying the young renter costs, she advises joining AAA if you plan to rent a car for longer than a few days. Additionally, Hertz will not charge AAA members for extra drivers. Additionally, your membership includes services like roadside assistance. The young driver and additional driver costs at Avis, Budget, Hertz, and Enterprise are also waived for policyholders with USAA Insurance. Car rental rates are also discounted for USAA policyholders. Officers and enlisted members of the US military who are currently serving, have retired, or have been separated with honor are eligible to join USAA, according to Claros.

Patrick McCann, editor-in-chief of the website We Try Tires, advises peer to peer applications like Turo as another great choice for teen drivers. This will likely allow for a greater variety of cars if you are having trouble finding a car rental company that will accept drivers under the age of 25. Frequently, such apps require proof of personal insurance as well as a sizable deposit, so take that into account. Another choice is Zipcar, which offers a unique membership plan for college students who might only require a car for a few hours or days. The young driver price is $1.25 per hour or $15 per day for renters ages 18 to 20. The young driver price is $0.88 per hour or $12.50 per day for renters aged 21 to 24. Young drivers would be well advised to keep their expectations in check at any rental car outlet or app. That Tesla will be more expensive and difficult to obtain than, say, a more affordable compact car. In actuality, the majority of car rental agencies limit the kinds of vehicles they let people under the age of 25 hire.